Sunday, September 23, 2012

To Tell the Truth

Well, I'm going to go back to Hebrews, the passage Pastor Craig spoke of this morning at church.

This old, deep, heavy book from the first century holds some amazing insight.  Again, in my march-to-the-beat-of-a-different-drummer style, I love this book.

Do you remember the TV game show, To Tell the Truth?  Three individuals claim to be the person described in an affidavit stating accomplishments, traits, occupations, or other significant detail about the one they are impersonating.  Here's a clip with Orville Redenbacher (it's terrible but I actually remember seeing this one...1972...check out the sideburns on Joe Garagiolo).  It is amazing no one knew who he was in 1972!


As we went through Hebrews 2:14-18 today, I was thinking:  What if some of history's figures worshipped in the world's religions were guests on To Tell the Truth...say, Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha), Muhammed, and Joseph Smith...and add the one and only Jesus Christ...each claiming to be "the way to heaven"...what would that look like?

How would the affidavit read?  What would be the claims?  Some would be from this passage, I'm sure:

  • I am God the Son who chose to become human, while God...the only way I could do a search and rescue of the sons of Abraham.

  • I am God the Son who chose to become human, while God...the only way I could do a search and destroy the power of sin.

  • I am God the Son who became in every way like all of you, so I could be a merciful and faithful high priest, yet maintaining all of my Divinity.

  • I am God the Son who left the glory of heaven to go through the suffering and testing that the human race bears, so you would know that "he's been there; done that"...yet remaining as God and without sin.

If these four were convincing that they were the "real thing"...the way to heaven..., and you were a panelist......who would you vote for?

In the end, only One can attest to the claims we went through in Hebrews today...among many others.  First and foremost, the other two were already human...none BUT ONE chose to become human to be authentic in His relationship with us, to destroy the power sin has over our lives, and to die in a most hideous way...and live!

That's who I'm following~~~Jesus Christ.

So, as I ponder His mercies new every day...I'm so thankful He called me to Himself, came after me, and I am forever His.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Five Fact Friday ~ on Saturday (AGAIN)

Yesterday was Edster's 55th birthday...(he can now order from the Seniors menu at Bob Evans) besides work, I was pretty tied up.

My facts today (okay, I put in one extra)...are about what my tasks are this weekend (I could have made the list a LOT longer!)...

 Fall 5 Five Fact Friday

This was my first attempt at doing a torn edge digitally...not bad for my first attempt...if I say so myself.

Enjoy the weekend...good snuggling weather here in Ohio.


PS:  Latest score...14-0, WEST VIRGINIA!!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Frolic Full of Remembering ~ Part 2

The weather is changing fast...summer has almost closed the door on 2012, except for its Indian sister...

Earlier I began this story about my Fall walk with my Edster this week...

 Brandywine Falls

Our walk took us over to Brandywine Falls, part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park...a place with much meaning for both of us.


When Edster first came to Akron, he had just had his 14th surgery on his knee...and his 2nd knee replacement...grateful that his leg had been spared despite ongoing neuropathic pain.  With Brandywine Falls close by, we made his therapy goal to be able to go down and up the boardwalk stairs to and from Brandywine Falls.  As Bruno shows you here...that's a LOT of stairs.

 The Falls from Afar

High stairs...

 Waterfall in Fall

But he did it...and so we had our engagement setting taken at Brandywine Falls.

 Tripping Down the Steps

We had not visited there for such a long time since those days...despite it being nearby.

The night before my wedding, I slept at The Inn at Brandywine Falls...a 19th century farmhouse at the top of falls.   We had reserved several rooms over two nights for out-of-town guests in the wedding party.

 Inn at Brandywine Falls

That morning, a phone call at 5:30 a.m. from my brother told me that my father had died.  That night, alone in the room at the Inn, I received a very meaningful phone call at 11:30 p.m., from my boss.

I had not walked the grounds of the Inn since then, and our walk brought many mingled with sorrow.

 The Granary

Our first night together as man and wife, we spent at the Inn, but in The Granary...formerly a chicken was now a suite apart from the main house.  It was beautiful and enchanting.  And historic...right up my alley.  But I had calling hours and a funeral to go through, before we could move on to Maine for our honeymoon.

 Back at the Inn

It was wonderful this week to take the time out to slow down and walk...

 The Inn in Early Autumn

to remember...

 Home Light

my miracle marriage to my husband...

 Waning Color

and how much I miss my dad...

 Outside the Granary

and how such mixed emotions come from the same place...

 Delicately Random

the heart...

for you cannot open yourself to love without also opening yourself up to grief.

I am truly blessed.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Texture Tuesday and a Splash of Hope

For Texture Tuesday this week, Kim challenged us to focus on the color orange and use one of her textures in our image.  Here is my composition...using her texture:  urban.

Splash of Hope
Sometimes that which we fear

strengthens our spirit

and gives us a splash of hope.

~~ Harley King

 I cannot help but think of the term "fear" in the same way that we think of the word "reverence" or "awe."  Psalm 111:10 tells us,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.  His praise endures forever! (ESV)

So, taking Harley's quote, and applying to this meaning of fear, I would write,

The reverence and awe of the Lord gives us strength and hope in Him is incessant in my life.

Hope on!  Happy Texture Tuesday!


Fall Frolic Full of Remembering ~ Part 1

My Garden Forever

Last night after work, Edster and I (and yes, my stepdog, Bruno) took advantage of a cool, mid-September evening.  We strolled around the Brandywine Falls area...part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park about 15 miles away.  It is full of sentiment for both of us.  Photos will be coming soon...promise!

But it amazes me how something so simple like being quiet and outdoors and slowing down and be so refreshing!  I knew rain was coming for the next day or so -- so I wanted to bank on this opportunity.

As I strolled along, I thought about God's mercies...his daily gifts...and added them to my list:

 October Canopy

  • The comfort of predictability and routine - seeing the leaves start to tire and lose there green-ness, without yet turning into vivid color, knowing that life is as it should be and that some things are always dependable.

A Man and His Dog

  • The ability to have the health and stamina to stroll through God's wonder.  Four years ago at this time, we were not sure if Ed would be able to keep his leg.

 Found a Peanut...Found a Peanut

  • The subtle orchestra of quieter birds than in the spring, with the backdrop of dancing water.

 Lasting Love

  • Having a hand to hold.

 Laughter in the Rain

  • The gift of remembering and someone to remember with.


  • The comedy of "smellies" that wanted to play with Bruno near the fence...aka  chickens.  Edster and I call them "smellies" from a line in The War Bride, a great movie on Netflix.


  • Quiet.  (I have a great article about the Gift of Quiet I must share sometime...)

 God is Not Neutral

  • The freedom from fear.  Between what we see on computer screens or television screens with 24-hour news, there is a lot of fear fueled in our society.  It reaches into our homes and grabs us by the throats.  But I'm grateful that during these moments fear was gone, and there is no fear in love, so we are free as we trust the One who loves us.  We have so much.

  • My camera. 
    Mercies are all just have to look!  All is grace ~


Monday, September 17, 2012

When You Run Out of Fantastic...

We just started a series in the book of Hebrews at church...whoa, heavy duty...and definitely NOT a fast read...kind of like mining for precious treasures...or coal with a three-foot ceiling with a pick axe.  Not easy, but the effort is worth it!

Actually, Hebrews is one of my FAVORITE books...partly because of what I read long ago.  I remember a book I read as a young adult attending Mount Vernon Nazarene University...

When You Run Out of Fantastic...Persevere! by Reuben Welch...the best down-to-earth book on Hebrews I've ever read.   I had no idea Hebrews was so this was my first real exposure.  But Reuben is down to earth...having heard him speak multiple times, one of his Reuben-isms he used often was, "I think I think..." and then would go on with his point.  But I digress...

Another way of saying the theme of Hebrews is:   when you run out of FANTASTIC...HANG ON!

 You Just Keep Me Hangin' On
I need to get that book out as we are going through this series and I'll be writing about it more about my journey on this blog.

About ten years ago, I worked for the vice president of manufacturing for a major printing company (before I changed careers).  When he walked enthusiastically around the plant and the corporate offices, people would say, "Hi are you?"  His response was always, "FANTASTIC!"  He wanted to project a good attitude to those he led, whether he felt it or not.

Sometimes you do run out of FANTASTIC...and I'm sure that it's important to continue to show gratitude and praise to God before the world.

My fear is that we lose our authenticity, at least among each other in Christ, if we do not openly share about waning level of FANTASTIC, so we can encourage each other and lift each other up.

Reuben once wrote in his best-selling book, We Really Do Need Each Other,
We Christians can be awfully hard on each other,” said my friend Reuben Welch once. “We are especially hard on each other when it comes to the things that matter the most. And we can be just as hard on each other about the things that matter the least.”

....My friend Reuben once said that “Sure, people need Jesus, but most of the time, what they really need is for someone to be Jesus to them.”

Regardless...I know I have a High Priest with whom I can be authentic...without shame...without hesitancy...because of one of my favorite verses that just happens to be in Hebrews 4:15-16:

15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

So when I run out of FANTASTIC, I go to the throne...He understands...He's been there...and He's the road underneath my feet.  But sometimes we need to be Jesus with skin on to each other...isn't that what the Body is for?


Friday, September 14, 2012

5 Fact Friday ~ On Friday!

It's that time again...and I'm actually posting it on Friday!

Well, as the summer ebbs away...and the autumn winds seems much more apparent...there's a bittersweet feeling, a touch of melancholy, in my anticipation of the season of colored leaves, the smell of apples, the glory of the mum, and the glow of spiced candles.

So 5 Facts are about what is disappearing by October.

 You Just Keep Me Hangin' On

1.  One of my favorite things to witness in September is "whirling birdies"...a fun way to say goodbye til spring to these flying cigars.

2.  Bees, bugs, and dragonflies will no longer be found in my favorite bog.


3.  The blooming sunny sunflowers are now seeded heads, bowed over with frequent goldfinch visitors or headless, as the squirrels have chewed them off, scurrying off with their spoils, gleaning the seeds as they sit on the backyard fence.

4.  The butterflies are no longer frequenting my frontyard butterfly bush.

5.  I'm no longer hearing the sweet song of the brilliant Indigo Bunting.

But it is as it should be...all things are beautiful in God's time.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Compassion for the Compassionate

Never Forget...(the fabric under the book is the skirt I had on that morning.)

I took this still photo last year on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  The plaid under the book is the skirt I wore on that day, as mentioned in an earlier post.  No matter how many times I revisit this day, it continues to bring immense hurt and sorrow that I cannot put into words.  It's as if no time has even passed.

 One Light - One Life

Last week I attended a conference in town...Compassion for the Compassionate:  Supporting Those Serving Others.   It addressed the long-term emotional cost of being able to perform in high-demand, caregiving situations.  There were 550 of us there...those of us who daily go places in our work that most of the world will never see.

The keynote speaker was Father Lyndon Harris, who was the Episcopal priest at St. Paul's Chapel, opposite of the East side of the World Trade Center, which became a hub of compassion for nearly 9 months to those who were in crisis in the aftermath of the terrorists attacks.  Many of those served were the first responders who remained at Ground Zero for months as part of the recovery.  No words can say it better than Lyndon in this 12-minute video I strongly urge you to take the time to view.

 The Light Remains - September 11, 2011

And as I reflected today about all of those directly impacted...I reached out to a firefighter who was in Tower One whom I am honored to know.  I offered words of healing for which he was grateful.  But those of us who give compassion in crisis, he, like many of us, carry a heavy burden.  Though it does not seem rational, there is a haunting, excruciating pain of self-criticism that we could have done more.  He told me, "the pain never goes away."

Life is a gift with multiple blessings...but today I honor those who go in the thick of the fight, lay their emotions elsewhere, to provide compassion to others, despite the high emotional cost to the deepest part of oneself.

 God bless America again...


Monday, September 10, 2012

Little Did We Know ~

As I walked out the door after work today, my first impulse was to look up at the sky.  The weather was pristine, September sun lower in the sky than this time two months' earlier, and refreshing air, distinctively void of any saturation of humidity.  I got in our Honda Odyssey, and I looked up at the sky once again...a comtrail behind a silver reflection of a commercial airliner was in view.  How naive we were on this night 11 years ago.  Eleven years ago this sighting was commonplace.  Little did I know...

 Remembering 9-11

In the documentary made by Jules and Gideon Naudet, as well as NYFD firefighter, James Hanlon, covering the journey of a "probie" in the New York City Fire Department, they show the firefighters on September 10, 2001 eating chow, bustin' chops, putting in the flag after nightfall, and you hear the voice of the documentarian, Jules Naudet say, "little did we know..."

It's as if the whole world would be different in a matter of hours...little did we know.

I don't know if I remember the night before.  I did not notice the weather.  I did not notice comtrails in the sky behind gleaming airliners.  I knew my mother was working the election polls in the morning...but I did not know that this was also the waning of my relationship with my mother B. A. (before Alzheimer's).  I knew in three weeks I'd be flying to San Diego from biggie...I had made the trip without a hitch that July.  Little did I know...

And here we are, eleven years later, and I ask myself,
"What am I taking for granted today?  What do I need to do or say today, as I have no idea if tomorrow will afford me the opportunity?  What are my eyes not seeing today in the frantic pace of life?  What different decisions and choices would I make today...if I knew?"

Haunting questions.

On the eve of September 11, I am solemn and thoughtful, as I realize how fragile the life and freedom we have at this moment truly is...and how it is but a whisper.


More to come...check in tomorrow as I reflect on the thinking about where you were on September 11, 2001.

We must embrace the pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.

-Kenji Miyazawa


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Autumn in Appalachia

I received some wonderful feedback on my post yesterday, I thought I would post some photos from our trip to "Almost Heaven" last autumn...especially anticipating our return for two weeks at the end of this month.

 Autumn in West Virginia

Independent film director, John Sayles, known for critically acclaimed movies such as Passion Fish and Matewan, describes West Virginia this way in his book, Thinking in Pictures:
There's no place in America like the hills of West Virginia.  There'll be a river, usually fast running and not too wide, and on the flatland along its banks a railroad track and maybe a little town, only two or three streets before the land starts rising up steep all around you.  You've got to look straight up to see the sky and often there's a soft mist shrouding the holler.  The hills hug around you -- stay in side of them for a while and a flat horizon seems cold and unwelcoming.  It's always been a hard life there, with not enough bottomland to farm and no easy way to get manufactured good out of the area.  The cash crops had to be torn out from the ground, first timber and then coal.  It's a land that doesn't yield anything easily.

In the late sixties I hitchhiked through the area several times and most of the people who gave me rides were coal miners or people with mining in their families.  They spoke with a mixture of pride and resignation about the mining -- resignation about how dark and dirty and cold and wet and dangerous it was and pride that they were the people to do it.

 Bloody Mingo

Another literary work is the autobiographical book by John O'Brien, At Home in the Heart of Appalachia, which he talks about in this intriguing video ~ he nails it with regard to the people, relationships, and this continual web of connection.  I've experienced it in my genealogical work meeting my relatives out on the branches of my Family Tree.


And who does not remember John Denver's beloved song


embraced by The Pride of West Virginia, The West Virginia University Marching Band (I apologize for the quality but you have to see what they do at the end of this...give me chills)


and did I ever tell you that after Edster and I said "I do." we marched to it down the aisle as we left the front of our church on our Wedding Day?

Thank you for indulging me.  It is an astounding heritage!

For my readers, the next few posts will focus on remembering the impact of September 11, 2001, as we draw close to that anniversary.